Dear Body, im sorry.
It’s been a few years now, a few years since we’ve been out of the darkest bits… but really about 11 months since I made the decision that enough was enough and you deserved to be put first. 11 months now since I decided that you mattered more than what society told my mind you should be. 11 months now since I started to take back control. 11 months since I guess you can say you’ve been allowed to be the best you. To live, to laugh and to love. But this is the first time I’m saying the words I should have said a while a go… and that’s that I’m sorry. Truly, deeply sorry.
I’m sorry for the times that I thought the less I ate the more weight I lost and the better you’d be. I know now that just makes you just go into survival and starvation mode where you will stop all unnecessary cell growth in a bid to keep me alive. I’m sorry that in my constant restricting of calories that you had no choice but to work even harder to keep me alive rather than give me the body I so desperately wished I had when I looked in the mirror. I’m sorry for all the diets that caused me to restrict you from the nutrients you need – You know, the no fat, no sugar, no carbs.. that cabbage soup one when i was 17?
Remember throughout my 1st year at uni and my time at uni?
I had you on 3 eggs, chicken and a handful of spinach.. you were allowed 10 raisins and 10 almonds before the gym and chicken and veg for dinner. Endless amounts of black coffee, you were on 4/5 Americanos and you were allowed 2 naps a day. Only now do I know that the coffee and the naps were because you had no energy to keep me moving. You did everything you could to stop me moving and I did everything I could to keep you going.
I forced you to move over 10,000 steps a day and if I didn’t I would drag you outside come rain or shine until you did. I forced you to never miss a gym session no matter how busy, how ill or how inconvenient for my friends or family. I would force you to miss time with family to make you run off those calories you ate, miss meals out with friends unless you could have chicken and veg and miss out on delicious deserts you were so badly craving in a bid to get abs. But the abs never came did they? Because you didn’t even have enough energy to keep me awake for the whole day, let alone build muscle.
I’m sorry for the time I gave you so much protein in a bid ‘to gain muscle’ through eggs every day, protein shakes, lots of low fat dairy and lots of meat. I’m sorry that you now cant process dairy and you have difficulty digesting foods now. I’m sorry you’re now so sensitive and the gut is now easily irritated because I was so convinced that fats and carbs were bad.
I’m sorry that the lack of carbs and fats meant you couldn’t function to give me my period, to keep my mood ok and my hormones balanced. I’m sorry you had to run on adrenaline and caffeine just to keep going.
I’m sorry that I blamed you every time I looked in the mirror that you weren’t the way I wanted you to look. The dull skin, hair falling out and brittle nails, I blamed you for not giving me what I wanted to see when I looked in the mirror – only now do I realise the lack of micronutrients from fruit and veg caused this, the lack of calories caused this and the lack of carbs for energy and fats for hormones caused this. I’m sorry that when I got so sick of not seeing what I wanted I would force you to consume endless amounts of chocolate and alcohol on a binge and then moan when I took ages to recover simple because you struggled to process the sudden binge.
I’m sorry for the lack of rest, for forcing you to complete high intensity workouts putting you under more stress. I’m sorry for focusing on calorie burn rather than celebrating your ability to move or your strength. I think cortisol, the stress hormone was most present leading you to not being able to switch off. I’m sorry that because of this waking up 3/4 times in the night was normal, jumping out of bed at 5am was normal pumped, wired and ready to go on adrenaline was normal, that the grinding of teeth was normal and the inability to switch off the mind was normal.
I’m sorry for the aches and pains you had to try get me to slow down and I’m sorry for ignoring them. I’m sorry for never stretching and looking after the muscles. I’m sorry for telling you if you weren’t sweating or out of breathe to do it again and for only being fueled by caffeine to complete such massive workouts.
I’m sorry that because of the lack of fuel you were always cold, right down to the bones. No amount of jumpers helped did it? Every day you were colder than the day before, every day you were fed less and if you went to bed growling at me with hunger then that was an accomplishment.
I’m sorry to you for making these choices and I’m sorry to my mind for making for the thoughts I had. I’m sorry to my mind and body for allowing myself to follow a stream of diet pages, promoting ways to eat less and move more. I’m sorry for the ruthless quotes saved on my phone, the endless ‘fitspos’ saved as my screen saver and the endless comparing to everyone on social media. I’m sorry for never letting you rest or switch off from the thoughts of food and calories. For constantly forcing you to think where and when your next bit of food will be, how you will enjoy something sweet without the calories and forcing you to look at pictures of food but never enjoying them. I’m sorry for every time I looked in the mirror the words I used to call you and I’m sorry for making you pretend everything was ok to everyone that loved you.
I’m sorry that it’s only now that I’m ready to say sorry and that while I can look back at my uni years and notice all the things that I did to you. I want you to know that now I am focusing on energy – no energy? That’s fine, lets rest you, feed you or hydrate you.
I want you to know that the thoughts and how I feel are my main priority – feeling low in self confidence? Remember what we’ve achieved and been through so far and my purpose in this life.
Comparing bodies with other girls? I promise to check I’m following only positive people on social media, to remember everyone is beautiful and accept you for you.
What about when it comes to fitness? I want to celebrate you, push you to become better at things and challenge you – but never completely exhaust you that you have to stop my period again.
Nutrition? I promise to listen you about what you need. Need carbs, sure hun. Extra calories because you’ve practicing #ProjectBecomeGoodAtShit? Absolutely. Want that desert? If it’s got dairy in we still need to be careful but if it’s without and you really want it, no worries.
That bottle of wine? Enjoy it and I’ll just give you some extra gut health support because although you might not accept it in every way… I know now that memories mean more than inches. That you mean more than the mirror. That your strength means more than the abs. That your thoughts mean more that your clothing size and that you mean more to me than what society tells us to be through that shitty diet culture that’s rammed down our throat every single damn day.
Dear body, I’m truly sorry and I promise to use you and your shitty experience to make a change to young girls and females. I promise to show the world how you are now you have the energy and I promise to use my experiences on how I used to treat you to create a bigger awareness of how the ‘healthy one’ might need a little help and guidance. That the one into fitness may be fighting a battle no one knows about and why fitspo might not be that inspiring after all.
Let’s make a change but this time together, not against each other.
Don’t forget to come say on Instagram, im currently on #ProjectBecomeGoodAtShit & #ProjectHealthyAdventurer – @chlohodgkinson